How to Stop Snoring
Snoring is more than just an embarrassing noise; it's a red flag indicator of an impaired airway. Snoring occurs when the soft tissue of your upper airway collapses into your throat, constricting or closing your airway while you sleep. The snoring sound occurs when air passes over the relaxed tissue, causing it to vibrate as you inhale and exhale.
Snoring can affect people of all ages, shapes and sizes but studies have shown that overweight, middle-aged men and postmenopausal women are most likely to snore. Around 25% of adults snore regularly, while 45% snore on and off.1
Factors that can cause snoring include:
- A deviated septum.
- Nasal polyps (growths in the nose).
- Nasal congestion caused by a sinus infection or allergies.
- Crowded oral cavity.
- Enlarged tongue, uvula or tonsils.
Although it may be considered normal by most people, regular snoring can indicate the presence of other severe underlying conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a serious medical condition that can cause sleep deprivation and other severe comorbidities such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke if left untreated.
When sleep-deprived, you are more likely to feel irritable, drowsy, and have poor concentration throughout the day, making you less productive and more susceptible to errors. For example, drowsiness causes 20% of car accidents and related injuries.3
How to Stop Snoring:
Instead of suffering from daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and disturbing your partner, you can adopt a few lifestyle changes to help keep your airway tract open during sleep and remedy your snoring. A range of excellent medical solutions are available if lifestyle changes do not quieten your snoring problem.
Maintain good sleep hygiene:
Start with ensuring your bedroom is conducive to deep, restful sleep by keeping it dark, clean, and distraction-free. (No electronic devices). Also, be sure to keep your room at a comfortably cool temperature and change your bedding regularly.
Equally as important is establishing a regular sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. This habit will help regulate your body clock, maximising the time you spend in a deep sleep state.
Don't sleep on your back:
Snoring is often caused by your sleep position. For instance, lying on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse into your throat, obstructing airflow. Try different sleeping positions to see if your snoring eases.
Use pillows to prop yourself on your side. As strange as it sounds, experts even suggest sewing a tennis ball into a pocketed T-shirt, then wearing it back-to-front to prevent you rolling onto your back during sleep.
Elevate your Head:
Even a simple trick like elevating your head by just four inches (10 cm) may reduce your snoring. Anti-snoring, wedge-shaped pillows can help hold you in position and keep your airway open.
Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives:
Alcohol and other sedatives tend to act as muscle relaxants. Reduced muscle tone can compromise your upper airway. If you are among those who snore regularly and loudly, you should avoid drinking alcohol at least two hours before bed.
Regarding sedative medication, consult your doctor to either change your drug or stop taking them at night if possible.
Give up smoking:
We all know cigarette smoking is hazardous to your health. In particular, cigarette smoking can irritate and inflame the lining of your nasal passage and throat, making it more difficult to breathe during sleep. However, if you need a cigarette, it will help your sleep if you do this four hours before bed.
Treatment for Allergies:
Chronic allergies constrict your nasal airway, forcing you to breathe through your mouth, which increases the chances of regular snoring. Consult your doctor regarding appropriate allergy medication to help improve your snoring.
Besides medication, you can invest in a humidifier to help clean the air in your bedroom. Furthermore, it will help keep your bedroom air moist and prevent your airway tract from drying out.
Surprisingly, staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluid throughout the day can help reduce your snoring. Your nasal passageway secretes sticky mucus when your mouth is dry, so you usually snore more when dehydrated.
Once again, a humidifier can help keep your airway from drying out.
External Nasal Dilators:
If you suffer from nasal congestion, you can use quick and effective methods such as nasal decongestant drops, external nasal dilators, or even nasal strips on your nasal bridge to open up your airway and reduce snoring.
Correcting Nasal Structural Problems:
People with a deviated nasal septum have an obstructed nasal pathway and tend to sleep with their mouths open, causing snoring during the night. Fortunately, structural abnormalities can be corrected surgically and may help relieve your snoring problem.
Lose weight and tone up:
Overweight people tend to snore more due to the build up of fatty tissue in the tongue and back of the throat.
Losing excess weight improves your general health and wellbeing but can also improve muscle tone in the throat, helping to reduce snoring. "All exercising, including abdominal exercises, actually tones your muscles around the throat area which can lead to less snoring," says Dr Idzikowski, director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service and president of Sleep Medicine Section of the Royal Society Medicine.2
Try to avoid heavy meals, dairy food and caffeine at least two hours before bed. Milk and other dairy products increase mucus which can constrict your airway. As well as cause allergic reactions that inflame the throat.
Oral Appliance Therapy:
A professionally fitted mandibular advancement splint (MAS), similar to a sports mouthguard, can help keep your airway open by lightly pushing your lower jaw forward while you sleep. A specialist dentist should always be consulted to determine your suitability for a MAS device.
Did you know?
Chronic sleep deprivation caused by snoring puts individuals at higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), a weakened immune system, and depression. So, it's essential to understand the extent of your snoring problem.
Contact us for a cost and obligation-free chat with a friendly Care Coordinator who will happily advise you on what your options are. (This is not a sales call, and all information remains confidential). We're here to help.
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I didn't know I really had sleep apnea and was surprised when the sleep test and report showed how badly my sleep was being affected.
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